Saturday, December 29, 2007

REFLECTIONS OF INDIA - RECALLING WITH GRATITUDE
December 29, 2006 - From Nagercoil to Anandapuram, Tamil Nadu

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY. On this day one year ago, four other cyclists and I began a 2,000-mile bicycle ride from the southern tip of India to New Delhi. Starting in Nagercoil, we rode south to Kaniyakumari and the Indian Ocean, then headed north to a Free Methodist youth hostel in Anandapuram, 75 miles (128 kilometers) away.

FIRST DAY OF SIX WEEKS. Our group of five was completely pumped throughout the day, even though we encountered strong headwinds and rode longer than we expected. It would be the first day in a six-week journey that would be as spiritually insightful as it was physically demanding.

ON MY MIND, IN MY PRAYERS. Today, I plan to make an extended ride north of Indianapolis to mark the start of our ride through India a year ago. I will ride the same Cannondale I pedaled through India. Indian weather was 85 degrees; Indianapolis weather is in the thirties at the moment. Hopefully, it will warm up a bit. But I'm prepared for the cold. I will have on my mind and in my prayers, the Indian friends who rode with us, the support team that drove along in the Tata Sumo pulling a trailer rigged to carry our bikes, the tsunami-impacted children at the hostel, and the thousands of Indian people who greeted us as we pedaled through towns, villages and countryside.

LONGING TO RETURN. I have a strong desire to return to India and another trek across the country. I am still exploring what its people and this experience means to me. Perhaps during these weeks marking the first anniversary of this ride, I will be graced to describe some of the meaning. I also want to offer thanks again for all who supported us with prayers, funding support for Umri Christian Hospital, and encouraging words.

TRACK OUR TREK. Explore our 6-week, 2,000-mile bicycle journey from the southern tip of India to New Delhi, December 29, 2006-February 8, 2007 at http://bicycleindia2007.blogspot.com/ and offer support for rebuilding Umri Christian Hospital at http://www.bikeindia.org/

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